The Eighth Alabama Infantry Regiment
The Eighth Alabama infantry regiment deserves special mention. It was the first Confederate regiment to be enlisted for the war. Its first service was at Yorktown. It fought in the battle of Williamsburg, May 5th, and at Fair Oaks, May 31 and June 1, 1862, in both of which engagements it took an important part and its losses were very severe. It was then transferred to the brigade of Gen. Cadmus M. Wilcox and was greatly distinguished at Mechanicsville, June 26th. Two days later it was prominent in the assault upon the enemy at Gaines' Mill and on June 30th was again in the midst of the conflict at Frayser's Farm. It was present, though not severely engaged, at Manassas and Harper's Ferry, and was in the thickest of the fight at Antietam, September 17th. It fought with its usual bravery at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863; the Wilderness, May 5, 6, and 7, 1864; Spottsylvania, May 8th to 18th; Salem Church, Cold Harbor, June 1 to 12, 1864. It formed a portion of the troops engaged at the Weldon railroad, June 22 and 23, 1864; was distinguished at the capture of the Crater, July 30th, and was also warmly engaged in the battle on the plank road below Petersburg.
Upon its organization, its colonel was John A. Winston, who was succeeded by Young L. Royston, and he by Hilary A. Herbert, who commanded in many hard-fought battles, being severely wounded at Sharpsburg and the Wilderness. Colonel Herbert has since achieved eminence at the bar of Alabama and in legislative halls, having served 16 years in the Congress of the United States, and as secretary of the navy under Cleveland's second administration. Other field officers were Lieutenant-Col-onel Frazier, Thomas E. Irby, killed at the Wilderness, John P. Emrich, wounded at Petersburg and at Gaines' Mill, and Duke Nall, who was mortally wounded at the Wilderness.
This regiment was fortunate in that its roll of honor found in the War Records is more complete than that of any other of the Alabama troops; and in the extracts below are the names of those conspicuous for bravery and courage, many of whom are still living, though the roll of immortal heroes is a long one. Capts. L. F. Summers and P. Loughry, and Lieut. Joshua Kennedy were killed at Seven Pines; Capt. Thomas Phelan, Lieuts. C. M. Maynard, Lane, Augustus Jansen, at Gaines' Mill and Frayser's Farm, and Capt. R. A. McCrary at Chancellorsville. Lieut. John D. McLaughlin died of wounds received in the battles before Richmond.
Extracts From The Official Records
Vol. IV--(668, 669) In general orders, No. 89, October 3, 1861, assigned to Fifth brigade, army of the Peninsula, Colonel Winston commanding post at Yorktown.
Vol. IX--(37) Assigned to Second division, Gen. Lafayette McLaws commanding; General Magruder's department, January 31, 1862.
Vol. Xl, Part 1--(267) E. J. Allen, March 29, 1862, reports "Eighth Alabama, 1,000 strong." (586) Mentioned in Gen. George E. Pickett's report of battle of Williamsburg, Va., May 5, 1862. (588, 589) Roger A. Pryor's report of battle of Williamsburg, says: "The gallant and lamented Col. Thomas E. Irby, with 4 companies of the Eighth Alabama, reported to me for duty." (822) Mentioned in Gen. Daniel E. Sickles' report of battle of Seven Pines. (987, 988) Mentioned in Gen. C. M. Wilcox's report of same battle. (1076) Capts. Leonard F. Summers and P. Loughry, and Lieut. Joshua Kennedy killed at Seven Pines.
Vol. XI, Part 2--(486, 503, 508) Wilcox's brigade, Longstreet's division, Jackson's corps, engagements around Richmond. Loss, 51 killed and 181 wounded. (508) June 30th, 1 reported killed. (771-775) Mentioned in Gen. C. M. Wilcox's report of Gaines' Mill and Frayser's Farm. Capt. Thomas Phelan, Lieuts. C. M. Maynard, W. H. Lane and Augustus Jansen, killed. Captain Hannon, Lieuts. M. Hugh and McGrath, severely wounded. (775) General Wilcox's report of battle of June 29th. Lieu-tenant-Colonel Royston sustained a severe wound. Surgeon Royston commended. (776-779) General Wilcox's report of battle of June 30th. (980) 31 killed, 132 wounded (10 mortally), battle of Gaines' Mill; 16 killed, 57 wounded at Glendale. (985) Lieut. John D. McLaughlin died of wounds received June 30th. (993) Roll of honor, battle of Williamsburg: Private William H. Duke(*), Company A; Private J. R. Philips, Company C; Corp. William H. Powell(*), Company D; Private James Ganavan, Company I. No selections from other companies. Battle of Seven Pines: Sergt. Frank Williams(*), Company A; Private W. A. Hall, Company B; Private J. B. Tallen, Company C; Corp. Eli Shortridge(*), Company D; Private John H. Deaton, Company E; Private Geo. W. Lee, Company P; Private Charles Hippler, Jr.(*), Company G; Private John Caney, Company I; Private J. D. Garrison(*), Company K. Battle of Gaines' Mill: Corp. Samuel L. Cochran(*), Company A; Private R. T. Bush, Company B; Private John G. Shields, Company C; Private W. E. Donoho(*), Company D; Sergt. J. B. Milner, Company F; Third Sergt. C. F. Walker, Company G; Sergt. W. H. McGraw(*), Company H; Private Hugh McKewn, Company I; Private John W. Griffin, Company K. Battle of Frayser's Farm: Sergt. Joseph Jackson(*), Company A; Corp. H. M. Howard, Company B; Private Robert Geddes, Company C; Private J.P. Wheelan, Company D; Fourth Sergt. G. Schwartz, Company G; Private J. Smith, Company G; Private John Lynch, Company I.
Vol. XI, Part 3--(390) Mentioned in General Magruder's report. (482) Col. J. A. Winston, commanding Pryor's brigade, 800 strong. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army on the peninsula about April 30, 1862. (532) Assignment as above, May 21st. (649) Wilcox's brigade, Longstreet's division, army of Northern Virginia, July 23d.
Vol. XII, Part 2--(547) Assignment as above, August, 1862. (815) Roll of honor, second battle of Manassas: Corp. R. Murphy, Company A; Private James Jennings, Company I.
Vol. XIX, Part 1--(804) In Wilcox's brigade, commanded by Col. Alfred Cumming, army of Northern Virginia, Maryland campaign. (812) 12 killed and 63 wounded, Maryland campaign. (1056) Roll of honor, battle of Sharpsburg, September 17th: Corp. Davis Tucker, Company A; Private John Curry, Company C; Sergt. T. S. Ryan, Company E; Fifth Sergt. James Cas-tello(*), Company G; Private J. Herbert(*), Company H; Private O. M. Harris(*), Company K; Sergt. G. T. L. Robinson, Company B; Sergt. C. F. Brown, Company D; Corp. J. R. Searcy, Company F; Private James Ryan, Company I. Vol. XXI--(539, 610, 1070) In Wilcox's brigade, First corps, 1 wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg.
No. 39--(790) Assignment as above, Col. Y. L. Roys-ton; Lieut.-Col. H. A. Herbert, Chancellorsville campaign. (806, 854) Report of casualties, 7 killed, 45 wounded, at battle of Chancellorsville. Capt. Robert A. McCrary among the killed. (858-860) Gen. Wilcox's report of the battle of Chancellorsville: "I cannot call to your notice all officers that are deserving of special praise, for the conduct of all was excellent. Colonel Royston, Eighth Alabama, and after his severe wound, Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert, were intelligent, energetic and gallant in commanding, directing, and leading their men." He also speaks of the lamented Captain McCrary. (1056) Roll of honor, battle of Chancellorsville, May 1-4, 1863: Private Allen Bolling, Company A; Private J. N. Howard, Company B; Sergt. Robert Gaddes, Company C; Sergt. P. H. Mays, Company D; Sergt. T. A. Kelly, Company F; Private Patrick Leary, Company I; Private James Reynolds (killed), Company K.
No. 44--(288) In Wilcox's brigade, Anderson's division, Third corps, army of Northern Virginia, at the battle of Gettysburg, July 1st to 3d. (332, 343) Casualties, 22 killed, 139 wounded. (620, 621) Mentioned in Gen. C. M. Wilcox's report. (775) Roll of honor, battle of Gettysburg: Sergts. Edmund Clark, Company A; Robert Gaddes, Company C; L. L. McCurdy, Company D; James R. Strickland, Company E; C P. Ragsdale (color-bearer), Company F; Privates Z. Haynes, Company B; C. G. Bush, Company G; J. Sprowl, Company H; Michael Duff, Company I; Michael Kane, Company I.
No. 45--(1061) Assignment as above, July 31, 1863, Col. Y. L. Royston commanding.
No. 48-- (400, 412, 819) Assignment as above; casualties, 1 killed, 6 wounded, October 10-21, 1863.
No. 49--(685, 900) Assignment as above to December, 1863.
No. 60--(1145) Commended by Gen. R. E. Lee in general orders, No. 14, February 3, 1864.
No. 67--(1025) In Perrin's brigade, Third corps, army of Northern Virginia, May, 1864.
No. 80--(754) Sergt. John H. Deaton, Company E, captured colors of two Michigan regiments at Petersburg, Va., July 30th. (810) Roll of honor, battles near Petersburg: Sergt. John H. Deaton, Company E.
No. 89--(1190) In Sanders' brigade, Mahone's division, General Lee's army, October 31, 1864, Maj. John P. Era-rich in command of regiment. (1239, 1367) Assignment as above to December 31st.
No. 95--(1273) Forney's brigade, Mahone's division, Appomattox campaign.
No. 96--(1174, 1272) Same assignment, Col. J. L. Roys-ton in command of regiment, January 31, 1865. Lieut.-Col. J. P. Emrich commanding regiment, February 28, 1865.
(*) Killed in action.
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